With their third full-length record, “Up Down or Inbetween,” the musicians behind Branch have more than coupled their musical talent with hard-earned maturity. “Up Down or Inbetween” offers up no pat answers or stale theology. Instead, the beautifully produced tracks on the album manage to both encourage the struggling believer and celebrate in full-on praise. The record reveals a more musically and spiritually mature group. “We are much more familiar with who we are on this record,” said the band’s lead singer and songwriter Steven Patterson. “We hope God is revealing more of the truth and beauty of Himself as He reveals Himself to us. We want music that translates past words and words that are honest and indelibly true.”
On “Up Down or Inbetween,” the band teamed up with veteran producer Brent Milligan, who helped take the sounds and ideas of Branch to a new level. Other notable contributions on the record include those of producer Paul Mabury, best known for his work with Hillsong, United; Stu G, lead guitarist for Delirious; and co-writing credits from artist Josh Wilson (who just happens to be the brother of band co-founder Rachel Patterson). The wealth of talent in the studio resulted in a standout record. “It’s been a collaborative effort as we teamed up with so many brilliant friends,” said Steven. “We feel there’s much more space and more ‘moments’ on this record for the listener to get lost in the music.”
With so many artists vying for attention, the various songs and styles available can become white noise to people. That’s a challenge Branch tackles by holding to what they believe God has called them to do. Music changes, but the life-change that Jesus Christ brings is eternal. Citing Daniel 12:3 -- “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who turn many to righteousness, like stars forever and ever” -- the band members believe their calling is to lead others to that light. “That’s the heartbeat of our band. The goal with every song and during every moment on stage is to help people get their eyes on to the God who changes everything,” said Steven. “As we gaze at the beauty and truth of our great God, we are transformed.”
Steven Patterson and Rachel Wilson met at a local Bible study in Abilene, Texas, eventually marrying and forming a praise and worship band. Two albums later, the members of Branch -- which include the remarkable talents of Josh Jones and Levi Bradford -- have found a voice and platform to champion Jesus Christ and the things He’s about: love and grace, justice and faith. Based in Athens, Texas, about an hour southeast of Dallas, Branch is rooted in its home church of First Baptist, where Steven is the music pastor. “All of us work at the church in some way or another,” said Steven. “We believe as a band our greatest asset is being closely connected to our local body and with what God’s doing in us. In fact, most of our songs come out of what God’s doing right here in our community of faith.” The church has also been a foundation of support for band members as they travel many weeks out of the year. “We’d be nothing each week without the covering of prayer by so many in our church body,” said Steven.
Steven met Rachel at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. The two formed a band and got the opportunity to trade weeks leading worship with Jeff Berry alongside the teaching of Matt Chandler at Grace (Abilene’s collegiate Bible study). After leading worship at Grace and their local church, the band began traveling to lead worship at various camps, conferences and retreats. In 2005, the band officially became Branch with the release of the debut album, “Desperate for Real.” The name came from John 15 with the key verse being, “Abide in me, for apart from me you can do nothing” (15:5). “We felt like we always needed to remember that,” said Steven. Soon Branch was traveling full time, leading others to experience, know and worship God. Branch released “The Side Effects of Seeing” in September 2007. “Up Down or Inbetween” was released Aug 2011.